Doctors and scientists across the country at National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers – including Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – and other organizations issued a joint statement urging the nation's health care systems, physicians, parents, children and young adults to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination back on track.
Dramatic drops in annual well visits and immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a significant vaccination gap and lag in vital preventive services among U.S. children and adolescents--especially for the HPV vaccine. The pandemic also has exacerbated health disparities, leaving Black, Indigenous and other people of color; rural; and sexual minority adolescents at even greater risk for missed doses of this cancer prevention vaccine.
“As the region’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, we focus on cancer research, prevention and care and addressing cancer disparities, and have seen firsthand the impact of delayed preventive cancer screenings and vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ronny Bell, Ph.D., professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine and director of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Office of Cancer Health Equity.
“We urge parents and young male and female adults across the communities we serve to work with their health care provider to get the HPV vaccination to protect against cancers caused by HPV. The COVID-19 vaccine and the HPV vaccine may now be administered in the same visit, which presents a great opportunity to protect the health of our youth. We are pleased to join other cancer centers across the country in supporting this statement.”
Read the entire statement.